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tline3open  I have no idea what this Webster Company sterling piece is. Please Help.

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Author Topic:   I have no idea what this Webster Company sterling piece is. Please Help.
sadavidas

Posts: 9
Registered: Oct 2010

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sadavidas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-2063]


I love to frequent yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets and the like. I'm a relative beginner when it comes to antiques and collectibles but it's fun finding something interesting and finding out as much as I can about it. I figure that's the best way to learn.

As far as silver goes, I'm a beginner. This is the first silver piece I've purchased. I found it at an antique store in a bin of things that were a dollar each and figured I couldn't go wrong. I've always been interested in silver but I've never known enough to make an educated purchase.

I'm just trying to figure out what it is I found and learn something new.

My piece measures 1 and 7/8 inches tall and has a diameter of 1 inch if that helps.

I've searched for hours on the internet trying to figure out what this is but I can't seem to find anything like it. Here is a scan of what seems to be the top and the hallmark.

Here is a picture taken from the side.

Thanks for any help in identifying what I have. I'm clueless at this point.

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sadavidas

Posts: 9
Registered: Oct 2010

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sadavidas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did run a search on the forum earlier for Webster and was not able to find any similar items.

Well here is a picture and description of the items I found on the internet with the same pattern if it could help anyone identify what I have.

quote:

This auction is for a nice pair of Webster Sterling silver "pierced" wine or spirit bottle holders. This fine pair were an estate purchase in Maryland.Webster Silver has always been synonymous with quality. These lovely holders have a nicely matched,pierced decorative pattern,(see pictures) .The larger holder/cover measures 3 1/8" tall,with a rim and base diameter of 2 7/8".


Any help identifying what my piece is or what it was used for would be greatly appreciated.


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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to the forum.

I believe you are looking at your pieces upsidedown and that they are components of something larger. The square opening is keyed by the small notch, so the item fits on just one way. It may be they were originally glass lined and belonged to a centerpiece or candelabra. Webster was known for such elaborate constructions.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Frequently, items like yours were part of what is called a 'caster' or 'castor', I can never remember which is the correct spelling. The caster if a device that holds condiments, like salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar and oil. Many were made to be taken apart for cleaning as salt and vinegar are very corrosive to silver. A glass insert would go into the device to hold the food. Usually, the glass is blue which contrasts well with silver. There probably was a lid, but these are frequently missing. The caster would usually have a handle so it could be passed around the table.

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sadavidas

Posts: 9
Registered: Oct 2010

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sadavidas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did another round of searching on the internet and by putting the dimensions as one of the search terms I came up with this:

quote:

A Group of Pierced Bonbon Dishes and Containers

Eleven pierced containers, each with an attached ball at the base; bottom marked "sterling" and Webster Co. manufacturer's mark. Measure approx. 1-7/8"T x 1"W. Twelve bonbon dishes with a pierced design with quatrefoils, marked "sterling" and manufacturer's initials RW; measure approx. 5/8"T x 2-7/8". Total weight of the lot is approx. 10.6 troy oz.


Thanks for your help everyone.

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, there you go, but I still think there is something missing. What purpose would the keyed squares serve?

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sadavidas

Posts: 9
Registered: Oct 2010

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sadavidas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The keyed square is still a mystery to me. In my initial search I figured that was my best clue in figuring out what it was since it had to be there for a reason. As you guys have stated, it probably is for a glass insert.

I took another look at the other site and noticed this picture:

quote:



I first noticed that the orientation of the keyed square was different and also that the word sterling is written over manufacturers mark, instead of before it.

I'm assuming this just means they changed the way they did their manufacturers mark over time and they are still the same thing, just produced at different times.

I did a quick search through the boards and didn't see anything, but can anyone point me towards a reference that would date my particular mark?

Thanks again.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-19-2010 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don’t know what purpose the keyed squares serve?

Often sellers identify something with their best guess. And that guess rings "true" and the guess becomes popular "fact" until documentation surfaces which identifies it as something else.

In the photo, it looks like the "balls" have an intentional "split". Here a guess.... I suppose the "splits" were used hold something that resembled place cards; and in this case, I suspect the silver held a bottle of some sort and the card identified the contents.

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sadavidas

Posts: 9
Registered: Oct 2010

iconnumber posted 10-20-2010 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sadavidas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From looking at what I have the split is definitely intentional. The thought that it was there for a specific purpose never even crossed my mind.

I assumed it was split to allow for thermal expansion. I don't know if non-extreme temperature variations would cause enough strain on the ball to be an issue.

But silver does have a relatively low melting point as far as metals go, right? If that's the case, the melting point is inversely proportional to the coefficient of thermal expansion so silver would be more susceptible to expanding from changing temperatures than other metals.

I don't know if that's right or not, but I'm a physics guy so it's natural for me to think of it that way.

I did test out your theory though and if it was meant to hold some kind of paper or card, it would have to be of thicker stock, something maybe a little thicker than a note card, to keep it from slipping out easily.

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vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 10-20-2010 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
so wouldn't these have had glass liners? If so, the square in the bottom is probably to facilitate pushing them out.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 10-20-2010 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect vathek might be correct.

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ellabee

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 10-21-2010 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm also pretty confident vathek is right about the square opening allowing the glass liner to be pushed out.

At some point in the 1940s or 1950s the Tabasco sauce people gave away silverplated versions of these kinds of liners into which their bottle fit. Since the bottle could be extracted by its neck while holding on to the silver casing, there was no need to have the opening in the base.

But I suspect that the ones here were made to hold glass liners that functioned as bud vases, holding little arrangements that decorated each place setting. The splits would have held place cards.

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 10-21-2010 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agree with Ellabee that it's most likely a bud vase place card holder, especially given the small size. Regarding the condiment bottle covers, for Tabasco, Worcestershire, A-1, catsup, canned milk, etc., most I've seen also have the push-hole in the bottom, and some are still being produced in sterling, silverplate, chrome, etc.

Excerpt from an 1897 article on tableware:

~Cheryl

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ellabee

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 10-21-2010 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On checking, Cheryl's correct: the Tabasco holder does have a circular opening in the base. Memory is highly unreliable in general, and mine in particular is getting near to worthless.

Now wondering how far back the holder here goes; its design is a lot like a cake stand that my grandmother was given for her wedding in 1915. It's very worn; I'd love to have one in sterling, or in better shape.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 10-21-2010 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Rainwater and Redfield, the main products sold by Webster were 'baby goods, dresser ware and picture frames'. While these are jewelry store items, there are a number of other retailers that could have carried such items: gift shops, drug stores and beauty shops. Looking at the pieces, and reflecting on the ubiquitous availability of them, I begin to suspect that these may have held a high end cosmetic item. Perfume, cologne, powder etc. Does anyone here have any idea of the silver items used in the cosmetics trade?

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 10-21-2010 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure where R & R got that notion; I have seen nearly everything under the sun with Webster's mark, from dressing sets to hollowware to entire table tableaus.

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